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As researchers pursue links between the bacteria and human health, startups stand to benefit

In 2009, the National Institutes of Health launched a five-year, $150 million project to stimulate research into a new field of medicine examining the connections between the millions of bacteria living in the human gut and overall human health.
Spurred by the advancements in genetics from a decade earlier, this new field of research would map not just the human genome, but the genetic sequences of the microbes living in the body to ascertain their function and the role they played in ensuring the health of the humans they inhabited.
A decade later, investors are encouraging the commercialization of these tools with hundreds of millions in financing for startup companies with names like uBiome, Viome, Finch Therapeutics, Kallyope, Second Genome, Human Longevity, Maat Pharma, Seed and many, many more.
In all, these companies have raised well over half a billion dollars.
Some of these companies, like Finch Therapeutics, Second Genome, and Maat Pharma are squarely in the clinical world of big pharma — developing treatments for disease through standard research techniques and clinical trials.
Others, like uBiome and Viome, have gone directly to consumers first. Looking to build up a body of knowledge about the microbiome through consumer microbiome analysis kits that will give customers a snapshot of the microbes living in their gut ,and offer basic recommendations on how changes in diet could improve their overall health.
As researchers pursue links between the bacteria and human health, startups stand to benefit
Viome chief executive and co-founder, Naveen Jain
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